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Derrick Favors won’t be starting every Oklahoma City Thunder game. The organization has emphasized its dedication to developing the youth on the team, and Favors, a veteran who arrived on a salary dump, does not fall into that category.
But against his former team, Favors wanted to start.
In the season opener on Tuesday, Favors got the nod at center to tip off against the Utah Jazz, a team he spent more than nine years playing for. The big acknowledged after the game that he wanted to be in the starting rotation for this game specifically.
“For selfish reasons, yeah,” Favors said. “Obviously I was here for so long, and I just wanted to start. For selfish reasons.”
He said he would not place the same importance on his role in the rotation on other games.
“Like I told (head coach Mark Daigneault), throughout the season I don’t care if I start or come off the bench,” Favors said.
Daigneault said that the team and setting of the game, which took place in Vivint Arena, played a role in his decision to start Favors.
“This is a special place to him, and I wanted to acknowledge that,” the coach said. “It’s no secret how this market feels about him, and how he feels about this market. Every organization can only hope that a player feels that way when they leave a place.”
In Favors’ first Thunder game, he scored four points and grabbed nine rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
Moving forward, starts will likely shift between Favors, Isaiah Roby and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Roby is a 23-year-old forward/center, while Robinson-Earl is a rookie center who can knock down 3-pointers.